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Govt warns ad agencies against advertising prohibited products through surrogate goods

Many alcoholic spirits and beverages are being advertised under the garb of music CDs, club soda and packaged drinking water whereas the chewing tobacco and gutkha have taken the veil of fennel and cardamom.

August 31, 2022 / 05:35 PM IST
Representational image

Representational image

The Department of Consumer Affairs on August 31 directed advertising agencies to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines for the prevention of misleading advertisements and endorsement of misleading advertisements, especially the provisions pertaining to surrogate advertisements.

The directions were sent out to the Advertising Association of India, Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Broadcasting Content Complaints Council, News Broadcasters and Digital Association, Advertising Standards Council of India, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry, ASSOCHAM, International Spirits and Wines Association of India, and the Indian Society of Advertisers.

The Consumer Affairs Department, under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution,  pointed out in a statement that “it has been noticed that these guidelines are not being strictly complied with by the concerned entities and the prohibited goods are still being advertised through surrogate goods and services. During the recent sports events that were televised globally, many instances of such surrogate advertisements were noticed.”

The statement added: “It has been observed that many alcoholic spirits and beverages are being advertised under the garb of music CDs, club soda and packaged drinking water whereas the chewing tobacco and gutkha have taken the veil of fennel and cardamom.”

It was further highlighted that often several such brands are roping in celebrities, which may increase the advertisement’s potential to have a negative impact on the impressionable youth among others. Several instances of direct advertisement of alcoholic beverages on social media platforms have also been observed, the department said.

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However, ministry guidelines strictly lay down that no surrogate advertisement or indirect advertisement shall be made for goods or services whose advertising is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law, by circumventing such prohibition or restriction and portraying it to be an advertisement for other goods or services, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law. Failure to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines by the parties concerned would lead to the Central Consumer Protection Authority taking suitable stern action against the violators, the department added.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Aug 31, 2022 05:28 pm
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